The People’s Partnership Government, he said, is being pressured for wage increases from several quarters all at the same time, noting the previous administration never faced such demands.

“Suddenly in eight weeks, because the Prime Minister is a woman, particularly an Indian woman, everybody wants everything same time, gimme 40 percent, gimme 20 percent, well take all,” Warner said, to cheers and applause from constituents of St Joseph, present during a sod-turning ceremony for the start of the second phase of the interchange at the Uriah Butler and Churchill Roosevelt Highways intersection.

The minister began his speech by saying that $519 million will be spent on this phase of the interchange, before hitting out at the recent wave of industrial action, most recently a two-day sickout by the police who are demanding a 40 percent wage hike, as well as protests by public servants, led by the Public Services Association (PSA).

The PSA is seeking a 34 percent salary increase, and on Thursday prisons officers too made their claim for higher pay when they delivered a letter to the Office of the Prime Minister.

Warner said all of these parties did not take such action during the previous eight-year term of the PNM.

“You tend to forget so quickly that for eight years no police ever received an increase. You tend to forget so quickly, police, PSA, prisons officers, they never said boo,” said Warner, who later thanked those who attended yesterday’s function for continuing to have faith in the Government.

“Thank you for believing in us as a Government that we shall deliver, in spite of difficult times and hard times we shall deliver. Our role has been to improve the lives of our people and I give you the assurance that nobody but nobody would move this Government before the next two terms at least, so let them talk,” he said.

Defending Government’s development plans, Warner again criticised the PSA for saying it will block the construction of a $7 billion highway between San Fernando and Point Fortin. The PSA had said the funds would be better used to pay public servants.

“Well block it nah, block it, these are the kinds of things you have to fight and face with, while this is happening, while these people always want to say gimme gimme, they do not understand that you have to have development. What we are having here is part of that continuing development that is taking place,” he said.

After the function, Warner told reporters funding is currently being sourced for the construction of the Point Fortin highway by president of the National Infrastructure Development Company, Dr Carson Charles.

“At this point in time, Dr Carson Charles, is talking to several banks both local and foreign to get the best interest rates. We are getting offers from Canada, China and local banks because the market is good for borrowing,” he said.

Warner noted while funds were being sourced, work on the Point Fortin highway was going to begin on Thursday.

“That tells you about the faith and confidence they have in the Government that they can begin on Thursday even while the funding is being sourced,” he told reporters.

A sod-turning ceremony for the Point Fortin highway project took place on January 25 and was attended by the Prime Minister.

Earlier in his speech, Warner spoke of other development projects previously announced by Government, including the construction of the Chaguanas hospital, the Mamoral Dam and expansion of campuses of the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of TT (COSTAATT).

He said Chaguanas Mayor Orlando Nagessar together with officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Health will be touring the site for the Chaguanas hospital today.

“In less than a month’s time we turn the sod for the South campus, they forget COSTAATT would open another branch in Chaguanas. They forget in two months from now we would begin the Mamoral Dam for $1 billion,” he said.

Tertiary Education Minister Fazal Karim, Justice Minister and St Joseph MP Herbert Volney and Nagessar, who also attended the ceremony, applauded as Warner made his statements.

Warner said on Monday he would tour the site for the Point Fortin hospital which “no government built”, and expected the facility to be completed in a few months.

He said critics have also forgotten that the Works and Transport Ministry is establishing a National Management Traffic Centre.

“All the traffic lights from Ana Street in Woodbrook right up to Grand Bazaar, all the lights are co-ordinated. All these lights would be in one engine room and controlled by wireless. Eleven cameras would be installed and those cameras would tell us about the traffic on the roads,” he said.

Volney, who has had heart surgery, gave brief remarks and told Warner the interchange was a necessity.

“We need to have the intersection cleared up just like surgery cleared up the clogs in my arteries. We want this to clear up the traffic in this area so our visitors will be healthy when they leave,” Volney quipped.



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